Publié le February 26, 2019

NAUSICAA, the French National Sea Centre

(Boulogne-sur-Mer / France)

What’s new in 2019?




At NAUSICAA, the National Sea Centre in Boulogne-sur-Mer (France), 2018 saw the opening of its “Journey on the High Seas” extension: a spectacularly-sized big tank that recreates the ecosystem of the High Seas. As a result, NAUSICAA is now Europe’s biggest aquarium, located less than two and a half hours away from London and Kent.

So, what’s new in 2019

In January 2019, the big winter clean gave NAUSICAA a chance to pay special attention to the “Mankind and Shores” exhibition with new surroundings in the “Island Stories” area, fresh decor for the touch tanks, new floors and lighting to create and inspire new experiences every day.

At the beginning of this year, the dancing shrimps (Lysmata Boggessi) that were born at NAUSICAA a few months ago are joining the “Journey on the High Seas” exhibition. Until now, these little shrimps had been raised by our handlers in the aquarium reserves. 

Theme for the year: Heroes of the Sea

This year NAUSICAA has chosen to focus on the theme of Heroes of the Sea: whether they are heroes whose exploits have withstood the test of time or simply everyday heroes, they are all citizens of the Ocean. With this theme, NAUSICAA wants to put the spotlight on those who discover, study, research, innovate, transport and protect us with their commitment to the Ocean. So NAUSICAA invites the general public to follow their adventures and join the movement. The programme for the year includes conferences, meetings, workshops and more. We are all heroes!

Ever since it opened, NAUSICAA has wanted to make Mankind the central focus of its attention by raising visitors’ awareness of the issue of sustainable development of our activities. The National Sea Centre’s mission goes far beyond that of just an aquarium: it seeks to introduce people to the sea, a vital component of life and a source of resources both now and for the future, inspiring its visitors with all the beauties of marine life and also raising the public’s awareness. 

The Heroes of the Sea at NAUSICAA

Whether famous or unknown, real or fictional characters, historical figures or men and women of the present day, they all bear witness to the link between mankind and the Ocean. They have explored the sea, braved it, probed its deepest depths, and studied it in order to unveil its secrets. They have roamed it in order to make a living from its waters. They have celebrated its beauty and power, or committed themselves to protecting it. They dream that it represents the future of mankind and will go on giving us new benefits. They have taught us to know it and to love it. 

Right from the first quarter of the year, NAUSICAA will receive visits from:

Sandra Bessudo, ambassador for the ocean

Since 1987, the French-Colombian biologist and diver Sandra Bessudo has devoted herself to conserving Malpelo, a small and isolated stretch of land. To raise money to conserve the marine sanctuary and conduct scientific monitoring of its species, she created the Malpelo Foundation in 1999 and persuaded the Colombian government to protect the island and combat illegal fishing and shark fin fishing. In 2010, Bessudo was appointed Minister for the Environment by the Colombian government, and she chairs the Oceans Commission. She was made a Knight of the National Order of Merit in May 2017.

Jean-Michel Cousteau, founder of the “Ocean Futures Society” association

Jean-Michel Cousteau, an explorer, environmentalist, teacher and film-maker, has spent more than 40 years of his life sharing his passion and concern for our watery planet with the public all over the world. In 1999, Cousteau founded the “Ocean Futures Society”, a not-for-profit association dedicated to protecting the marine environment and educating people. Acting as a “voice for the oceans”, it’s aims are to run education programmes, conduct research and establish the principles of an ethical environmental conservation policy.

Laurent Ballesta, French marine biologist/naturalist and specialist in underwater photography

The biologist and underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta regularly goes on remarkable dives. Between 2010 and 2013, for instance, he dived in the Mozambique Channel in order to bring back images of the coelacanth, a living fossil of a fish. In 2015, he set off for Adélie Land in the Antarctic with another photographer, Vincent Munier, and dived into the icy waters of the Southern Ocean. Finally, in 2017, he spent 24 hours under water in the Fakarava channel in the Tuamotu Archipelago in order to photograph groupers and grey reef sharks attracted by the remarkable gathering of fish that had gone there to reproduce. These remarkable expeditions inspired books and documentaries featuring rare images.

Romain Trouble, Director-General of the Tara Expeditions Foundation

The Tara Expeditions Foundation, the first-ever public-interest foundation devoted to the Ocean, uses its schooner Tara to develop an open, innovative and new kind of Ocean science which will be able to predict and better anticipate the impact of climate change. It uses this very high-level scientific expertise to raise the awareness of the younger generations and educate them and also to mobilise political decision-makers and enable developing countries to access this new knowledge. The Tara Foundation has Special Observer status at the UN and is actively involved in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the UN’s 2030 Agenda. We want to make sure that responsibility for the Ocean is shared.


In 2018, NAUSICAA became the largest aquarium in Europe with the opening of a new extension dedicated to the High Seas. Management of the high seas is one of the major issues of the 21st century, and the United Nations is currently discussing future methods of governance. Visitors can see vastness here: a powerful and living Ocean. The area resembles the island of Malpelo off the coast of Colombia. This extraordinarily-sized structure is a real architectural, aquatic and technical challenge which has been realised at NAUSICAA for the first time in Europe! Sharks, manta rays and shoals of other fish inhabit this area. An 18-metre-long transparent tunnel offering multiple views, a trench measuring 7.5 metres , giant windows and a viewing panel measuring 20 metres long and 5 metres high will give spectacular views of the big tank. Nearly 900,000 visitors have already discovered this new exhibition.

NAUSICAA is much more than just an aquarium… In 28 years, NAUSICAA has welcomed 17 million visitors and become a major player in efforts to raise awareness of the marine environment. It is a Centre where the unique marine environment can be discovered in a fun, educational and scientific way, with a primary focus on the relationship between Mankind and the Sea. NAUSICAA is a UNESCO « Centre of Excellence » for its awareness-raising work. – Find us on Twitter and Facebook 

If you wish to know more about NAUSICAA, ask for images, arrange interviews and press trips, feel free to contact us on or 0033 3 21 30 99 99.


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